Monday, July 28, 2014

Rest In Peace, Cheryl...

Receiving the news that Cheryl Hanna had suddenly passed away left me broken hearted.  Cheryl was a brilliant woman that was influential to so many lives through her classes at Vermont Law School, her well-known legal comments on NPR and other Vermont media, and her numerous publications.  Many amazing things will be written about Cheryl.  Her resume is long and distinguished with all of her publications and accomplishments.  Her role in the Vermont Law community is arguably unmatched, and I think many students and alumni would agree that very few professors left a mark on their legal careers the way she did.  There is no doubt that the legal community lost someone irreplaceable.

Those many articles about Cheryl probably won't mention those things that made her special to me and to others that were fortunate enough to know her on a personal level.  As a professor she inspired me to strive harder and realize my true potential.  She knew what I was capable of long before I knew to even try.  Most people do not know that I almost failed her class.  Seems impossible to think of now, but an office visit later and not only was I on my way to acing Constitutional Law, but I had made a friend of a lifetime.  At the end of the semester, we contacted each other about doing legal research together, the next three years of law school and beyond, I was fortunate enough to work side by side professionally with one of my closest friends.

I spent many afternoons and evenings laughing over articles and research, sharing a glass of wine, and discussing the nuances of the latest Supreme Court case with this incredible person.  She could read people extremely well, and she saw the best in everyone.  Her loss is devastating not only to me, but to the legal community, her family, and to Vermont.  Vermont Law School will never be the same.

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your wonderment with us all, and for helping so many of us fall in love with the law and go after the passions and dreams inside of us.   

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